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Utah State RB Michael Smith among draft gems


Greg Cosell of NFL Films has published his list of diamonds in the rough heading into this month's NFL draft, and it's a good read. Take a peek.

We've been burning the midnight oil compiling our own storehouse of unheralded prospects, which we'll release next week.

For now, here's trio of chart-climbers on the offensive side of the ball:

• Michael Smith, RB, Utah State: A back with exceptional upper-body strength, Smith made a living coming off the bench to spell Robert Turbin at Utah State.'s Chad Reuter spoke of Smith's outstanding pro day -- he timed at 4.33 in the 40-yard dash with a 40 1/2-inch vertical jump -- as part of an argument for Smith finding a home in the fourth or fifth round. Smith is overlooked because his touches were reduced as a senior, but he averaged more than seven yards per carry over his career. Smith possesses exceptional burst and exploded in December's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, with 157 yards on 12 carries, two for scores. (Are you telling us you didn't watch the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl? Priorities, people.)

• Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Yes, we know: He's short for a quarterback, measuring in at 6-foot, 197 pounds. There's a long list of undersized quarterbacks who failed to pan out in the pros, but few had Moore's smarts. This is a player who completed 74.3 percent of his passes as a senior, with a 69.8 percent mark over his four-year career. His 50 wins are an NCAA record, and his intangibles are well-documented. He is a fiery, intelligent leader who comes across like an offensive coordinator on the field. His arm strength and size are (possibly career-killing) problems, but this kid possesses guts.

• Taylor Thompson, TE/DE, SMU: An unusual player with untapped potential. Thompson was recruited out of high school as a receiver, but wound up playing defensive end at SMU. Strange thing happened: Thompson performed well at tight end at his pro day earlier this month, catching the ball with promise and showing moxie at the position.'s Gil Brandt praised Thompson's athleticism and added this intriguing prospect to his top 100 list. Some have questioned Taylor's passion for football, but the right coaching staff will find a way to use his skills.

Naturally you don't agree with any of this. Let us know why.


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